| Detroit Free Press
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman talks on 2020 class
Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman talks after the 2020 draft. Oct 7, 2020.
Steve Yzerman continues a trend of low-risk moves to improve the Detroit Red Wings.
Soon after free agency began at noon Friday, he signed forward Bobby Ryan to a one-year deal worth $1 million. Ryan, 6-foot-2 and 208 pounds, is a former 20-goal scorer who still has the skill set to help provide a much-needed boost to the Detroit Red Wings‘ offense. Ryan most recently played for the Ottawa Senators.
Yzerman then signed defenseman Jon Merrill for one year, $925,000.
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In 833 career games split between the Senators and Anaheim Ducks, who drafted Ryan at second overall in 2005, Ryan has 254 goals and 301 assists.
Ryan can slot right into the top six, playing on the second line with Robby Fabbri and Valtteri Filppula or FIlip Zadina. He’s a right-shot, offensive-minded veteran who, at 33, is trying to keep a foothold in the NHL.
Ryan was limited to 24 games in 2019-20, spending roughly three months attending an NHL assistance program for alcohol abuse. Ryan returned to the Senators lineup Feb. 25, and record a hat trick one game later. He was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy last month for perseverance and dedication to hockey by the Professional Hockey Writers Association after the season ended.
He was bought out by the Senators in late September, making him a free agent.
Merrill, 28, has played 356 games split between the New Jersey Devils and Vegas Golden Knights, scoring 12 goals and 49 assists. A 6-3, 195-pounder who shoots left, he provides depth on the blueline. An Oklahoma native who grew up in Grand Blanc and Brighton, Merrill played three seasons at Michigan after he was drafted by New Jersey in the second round in 2010, helping the Wolverines reach the 2011 NCAA championship game.
The moves fit with how Yzerman has handled free agency since taking command of the Wings in April 2019, signing veterans to short-term deals. He signed forward Valtteri Filppula and defenseman Patrik Nemeth to two-year deals in 2019.
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